E-PEAS & TCT demonstrate inductive energy harvesting – ideal for building automation & smart grid applications
03 September 2020
Ultra-low power semiconductor company, e-peas continues to lead innovation in the energy harvesting sector – this time through its collaboration with French specialist in magnetic components, TCT.
By bringing together TCT’s engineering expertise in ferromagnetic cores with e-peas’ popular AEMS series of ultra-low power PMICs (power management integrated circuits), the two companies have been able to develop an innovative energy harvesting platform based on induction. This will have huge potential within building automation and smart-grid deployments.
The companies have now demonstrated this platform in action – view the video at: https://e-peas.com/news/how-energy-can-be-harvested-using-magnetic-core-as-a-harvester/
The demonstration consists of a compact TCT current generator accompanied by an e-peas AEM30940 PMIC. This current generator is placed onto an electricity cable (carrying a few amps of AC current). Through induction it is able to harvest energy from the AC current passing through the cable, with the AEM30940 (in combination with a semi-active rectifier) converting and managing the current delivered. The DC current is subsequently used to power a connected hardware device comprising multiple sensors and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon connectivity. An LED indicator is included to show that this is in operation.
The 3µW cold start power of the AEM30940, which is much lower than competing solutions, will prove pivotal in allowing energy to be efficiently harvested from the AC source. Also, thanks to low internal leakage exhibited by this PMIC, it will be able to take care of the storage of extracted energy, and provide a regulated voltage to the connected low-power hardware. The AEM30940’s linear converters provide two independent regulated voltages, which thereby eliminates the need of any additional converters. The connected hardware will monitor ambient parameters (temperature, humidity and light levels) and will then transmit this data over the BLE link.
“By using inductance, battery-less control and monitoring units will have the functionality needed to draw energy from electrical cabling that is already deployed. The logistical difficulties of having to periodically replace battery cells can be completely avoided, presenting facilities management with greater convenience and lower operational costs,” states Alexandre Decombejean, Sales Manager at TCT. “The energy harvester attached to the cable is built around a specific soft magnetic material core with high permeability, and will reach an elevated output voltage even with a low current.”
“We have already been able to validate the effectiveness of e-peas technology in harvesting energy from thermal, vibrational, RF and photovoltaic sources. Now, by combining our technology with TCT’s, we have the ability to do so via inductance,” adds Christian Ferrier, CMO of e-peas. “This opens up an array of exciting new market opportunities for us as a leader company in energy harvesting and processing solutions.”
e-peas develops & markets disruptive ultra-low power semiconductor technology. This enables industrial & IoT wireless product designers to substantially extend battery lifespans & eliminate the heavy call-out costs of replacing batteries, without in any way compromising on reliability. Relying on 15 years of research & patented intellectual property, the company’s products increase the amount of harvested energy & drastically reduce the energy consumption of all power consuming blocks within wireless sensor nodes. Headquartered in Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium, with additional offices in Switzerland & the USA, plus a presence in Taiwan, e-peas offers a portfolio of energy harvesting power management interface ICs, microcontrollers & sensor solutions.
Located in the Burgundy region of France, TCT is a respected specialist in the design & manufacture of high performance magnetic components.
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